App Review: Face Fun – iPhone Face-Recognition Multiplied By Fun

[appreview]
title=Face Fun
image=https://gigaom.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/1/2009/05/appicon_facefun.png
price=$2.99
url=http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=314132248&mt=8
rating=avoid
[/appreview]

If we were to liken the iPhone (s aapl) to a Greek hero — all muscle-bound and chiseled man-face — it would surely be Achilles, the guy with the wonky heel.

The iPhone is our modern-day electronic hero, savior of our interconnected lives. Yet it is a hero with one tiny flaw, a weakness that even its fondest admirers are prone to point out: This wonder-device features an awful camera.

Face Fun aims to put your iPhone’s questionable camera to good use, using face-recognition technology to place your face in a variety of amusing situations.

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App Review: Rockchinko

[appreview]
title=Rockchinko
image=https://gigaom.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/1/2009/05/appicon_rochinko_.png
price=$1.99
url=http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=314329575&mt=8
rating=silver
[/appreview]

A bag of metal balls, a rockabilly soundtrack, exploding pegs: Rockchinko is the pachinko machine from hell.

Harking back to the old American parlor game Corinthian Bagatelle, pachinko has captured the imagination, and yen, of Japan. While the game may not have invaded Western casinos, there’s a steady stream of pachinko apps arriving for the iPhone.

Rockchinko gives pachinko an injection of rock ‘n’ roll, featuring physics-defying tilting, plectrum powerups and tons of guitars across more than 40 levels. Read More about App Review: Rockchinko

App Review: Easy Wakeup

[appreview]
title=Easy Wakeup
image=https://gigaom.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/1/2009/05/easywakeup.png
price=$9.99
url=http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=306244493&mt=8
rating=avoid
[/appreview]

Easy Wakeup is an advanced alarm clock, designed to gently nudge you from your slumber, helping you wake up alert and ready to tackle the day’s tasks.

For some of us, sleep is a real bane — an interruption to what would otherwise be the perfect non-stop working schedule. To others, settling in to the glorious dirge of dreaming is a true joy. Regardless, we’ve all got to wake up sometime and, aside from those truly gifted natural-risers, most of us rely on an alarm clock.

Easy Wakeup is pitched as a smart alarm clock for the iPhone. Alongside waking you at the optimal moment, based on your sleep cycle, it also incorporates custom alarm tones and sleep-related statistics. Read More about App Review: Easy Wakeup

App Review: World Cup Ping Pong

[appreview]
title=World Cup Ping Pong
image=https://gigaom.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/1/2009/04/appicon_world_cup_pingpong.png
price=$1.99
url=http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=310303959&mt=8
rating=bronze
[/appreview]

All of the thrills, adrenaline and drama of ping pong arrives on the iPhone, courtesy of Skyworks.

I’ve tried many sports — rugby, basketball, hockey, even lacrosse — and discovered that physical exertion is not my bag. I much prefer my Macbook Pro and a bowl of edamame for company any day. As a sport, ping pong is special though: it’s high-speed, it’s intense, it’s got a silly name, and it requires very little movement on my part.

Skyworks Ping Pong aims to capture the energy of the real thing, but requires even less physical exertion. The game features a single-player International tournament mode, polished graphics, online scoring and even single-device multiplayer. Read More about App Review: World Cup Ping Pong

App Review: The New York Times Crosswords Daily 2009

[appreview]
title=NYTimes Crosswords
image=https://gigaom.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/1/2009/04/appicon_new_york_times_crossword.png
price=$9.99
url=http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=307569751&mt=8
rating=silver
[/appreview]

It’s only fitting that a serious crossword puzzle app has a seriously verbose title.

The daily puzzles offered up by The New York Times are a classic staple in many crossword puzzle players’ diets. Kicking off each week with Monday’s easy offering, the puzzles get gradually more difficult each day, peaking with a fiendishly difficult grid on Friday.

The New York Times Crosswords Daily 2009 is the official NYT crossword app. The app features daily downloads of the latest New York Times crossword puzzle, alongside leaderboards and player profiles. Read More about App Review: The New York Times Crosswords Daily 2009

App Review: Fist of Fury — As Much Fun As a Punch in the Face

[appreview]
title=Fist of Fury
image=https://gigaom.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/1/2009/04/appicon_fist_of_fury.png
price=$2.99
url=http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=299388619&mt=8
rating=avoid
[/appreview]

Don’t let life get you down, put your punchin’ gloves on and show the world you’re a champion in this retro boxing game.

In these economically egregious times, we all need a little release from the fiscal pressures dumped upon on our already strained shoulders. Even I need some respite from the current monetary melee, having just conducted a thoroughly British argument with my thoroughly British bank manager, both of us politely snarling, in a disturbingly reserved manner, down the phone line.
Allowing you to take your troubles to the ring, Fist of Fury is a retro-style boxing game for the iPhone. The game features five muscle-bound walking clich├ęs for you to attempt to beat the pulp out of. Read More about App Review: Fist of Fury — As Much Fun As a Punch in the Face

Tweetie: Now in Tasty Mac Desktop Flavor

tweetie_icon

Get your tweet on and shake your verbs, Tweetie — the much-celebrated iPhone (s aapl) Twitter client — has hit the Mac OS X desktop.

As regular readers will know, I adore my iPhone and I’m an avid tweeter. A few months back, I weighed the options and, despite there being an array of free alternatives, the iPhone version of Tweetie, available for $2.99, was my favorite Twitter client.
Over on Twitter there’s been some serious buzz surrounding the release of the desktop version of Tweetie. Available now, either for $14.99 or as a free ad-supported version, Tweetie for Mac blends a streamlined user interface with a host of essential features, including multiple account support, threaded conversations, URL shortening and image uploads. Read More about Tweetie: Now in Tasty Mac Desktop Flavor

App Review: Leaf Trombone: World Stage — Like American Idol But With Leaves

[appreview]
title=Leaf Trombone
image=https://gigaom.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/1/2009/04/leaf_trombone_icon.png
price=$0.99
url=http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=309080428&mt=8
rating=gold
[/appreview]

Learn to play the leaf trombone, perform your repertoire before a global audience, and prepare to be judged.

Since the App Store’s launch last year, Smule has been steadily building an impressive portfolio of sound-based social apps for the iPhone. With Dr. Ge Wang — an assistant professor in Music and Acoustics — at the helm, among a smattering of clever and fun sonic toys, their biggest hit to date has been the multi-award winning Ocarina.
Smule’s latest app, Leaf Trombone: World Stage, is a social musical instrument designed specifically for the iPhone. Players can download new songs and perform before a judging panel of other leaf trombonists. Read More about App Review: Leaf Trombone: World Stage — Like American Idol But With Leaves

App Review: Hysteria Project — iPhone Owner Stalked By Maniac

[appreview]
title=Hysteria Project
image=https://gigaom.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/1/2009/04/911637.png
price=$1.99
url=http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=305911637&mt=8
rating=bronze
[/appreview]

Chased through a trap-laden forest by an axe-wielding murderer, Hysteria Project is a step in a much darker direction for the iPhone.

Reviewing Asteroids-esque shooter The Void last week, I mentioned that some iPhone (s aapl) games are ditching the cute and getting darker. With their first release, the BulkyPix team have taken the anti-cute movement further: chopping up any semblance of cuteness with a rusty axe, putting the bits into garbage bags and burying the bags in a creepy forest.
Hysteria Project is a choose-your-own-adventure for the iPhone. Blending atmospheric film sequences with quick-fire decision-making to create an intense horror experience. Read More about App Review: Hysteria Project — iPhone Owner Stalked By Maniac

App Review: Amplitude — Your iPhone as a Covert Surveillance Tool

[appreview]
title=Amplitude
image=https://gigaom.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/1/2009/04/picture-2.png
price=$0.99
url=http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=307580587&mt=8
rating=bronze
[/appreview]

Amplitude pushes the iPhone (s aapl) in a new direction, transforming the device in to a hand-held James Bond-style surveillance tool. An intriguing concept indeed, but would Q approve?

Setting aside the more recent Bourne-esque gritty romps of the latest Bond movies — which are, for the record, utterly brilliant — I’ll be forever enchanted with the classic laboratory scenes where Q presents 007 with an array of innocent-looking yet lethal gadgetry.
Amplitude transforms the iPhone in to a surveillance device, allowing you listen in on distant conversations.
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